In October 2021, when rumors started circulating that ShareChat was in talks to buy MX short video platform TakaTak, there was an air of inevitability about it.
The reason for ShareChat’s interest was obvious. The Bengaluru-based social media platform owns and operates Moj, a major rival of MX TakaTak. And while it’s made Moj one of the biggest short-video platforms in the country — behind only Meta’s Instagram and possibly YouTube Shorts — it’s also seen MX TakaTak make impressive gains.
Indeed, TakaTak’s growth surprised even MX Media executives. Since its inception in mid-2020, the platform now claims to have 150 million monthly active users (MAUs) – only slightly behind Moj’s 160 million. According to several current and former MX Media executives, TakaTak’s traction has also seen it begin to catch up to MX Player, its oldest,
ad-based video on demand
ad-based video on demand
Video streaming services that offer content for free and make money by running ads on their platform
(AVOD) brother, in terms of advertiser interest.
With TakaTak flying high, the timing of its sale surprised a few executives. All, however, agreed that a sale was an eventual outcome. Times Group, which owns more than 40% of MX Media through Times Internet, is known for trading high-performing products at “the right price”. In this case, the deal would be worth between $600 million and $700 million. The Ken learned that it is an all-stock deal, contrary to media reports that it is a cash-and-stock deal.
On the other hand, by acquiring TakaTak and merging it with Moj, ShareChat is poised to become India’s biggest player in the short video industry. Competitors like Josh, Roposo and Chingari are nowhere near close, several short-form video industry executives have said. The announced post-merger target of 300 million MAUs by the end of 2022 should put Moj in the business, if not ahead, of Instagram, which currently dominates the industry with more than 200 million MAUs. Le Ken could not determine YouTube Shorts’ user base in India.
This only adds weight to the story that ShareChat sells to investors. In 2021, the company mopped up more than $900 million across three fundraising rounds, bringing it to a valuation of $3.7 billion. Already, it is in talks to raise an additional $500 million at a $5 billion valuation. As the biggest player in a lucrative industry, a short video is
Playing by New Rules: Media and Entertainment Industry Trends 2020
to “harvest 25% of total time spent watching online videos by 2023” – that request doesn’t sound astronomical.